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the united states, so most of the people who were about to graduate from college like my uncle were concerned about what would happen next. did they want to join the war? college campuses at that point were embroiled in controversy, much of the college campuses as when i was in school there was the isolationist and the interventionists that believe america should be in. all of this was on my uncle's mind. ..
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but in 1941 the british were celebrate to get the united states involved in the war, a few great minds in england such as the farm minister had done what they could to make arrangement what would ultimately be 18 americans to joint kipping's royal rifle corp.. my uncle and another fellow from harvard would be two of the first to join. now that night when he was spending the evening with charles mcclain, he tried to convince mcclean to go win him. by the end of the evening when my uncle went back to came bridge. he made up his mind to go. charles wasn't sure what he would do. he headed back to dart mouth to talk over the idea with some of his close friends who were
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committed interventionist leaders of the interventionist movement at dart mouth. to start i'd like to read a little bit what happened that night as charles left my uncle in new hampshire, and a little bit about what happened almost 70 years later, when i met with charles in his small room in han overas a much older man. excited, mcclain raced through the dark back and the solid brooke honor society house besides the village green. locating his friends, took a matter of minutes, the members all slept in rows of beds under the eves and a chilly open attic they called the wind tunnel. in sooner had they comp henced the news they rushed off to find more friends who shared an apartment on main street.
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more discussion and debate among the friends would follow. within weeks, the applications to the 60th rifles, which was another name for the king royal rifle corps would be received and approved. tom littlefield who wanted to go to was rejected on account of the bum shoulder. that night on may 31, 1941, the dye was cast. they would offer themselves to become british soldiers. officer candidates in the king's royal rifle corp. in less than six week, they would ship out for england. other men would follow. 18 americans in all joined the 60th rifle and some 17 months later the u.s. army itself would finally enter the fray. the five young men went first and in wartime timing truly is
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everything. before going to sleep that night, this is why talked with him seventy years later, he wrote in the diary, 65 years later in the small rooms where he lived alone at the new hampshire retirement village, he showed me the entry. it seemed to have surprised him. fear was not a viable thought or emotion during those days. he mused, cox, he had written in 1941, had started me thinking, he wants me to go with him. the idea is very attractive. it is clean, no waiting, exciting. but i am dubious of the challenge of coming back. well, i knew a good quote when i heard one even though it gave me the slivers he neatly foreseen the situation. so i asked charles to put me in touch with the dissenters and
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relatives of the other four men that went. he did. they produced amazing piles of journals, letters, reminiscences, the sister of charles was still alive. i was able to interview her. it became clearer and clearer it was a story that needed to be told, and i thought at the time wouldn't too difficult to tell. it turned out to be a little harder than i expected. but in any case, actually one of the hardest things about it because they turned to be so arctic late and funny one of the hardest part was decided to tell the story myself and when to quote from them. i had a few tussles how i was quoting them too much and should get back to the story. anyway, to get back to the story. in july of 1941, the five young men three from dart dart mouth
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and two from harvard met up in new york, they did things kind of style in those days. they met up for a drink with the atmospheric with the british embassy to finalize paperwork which mostly amounded to which they had birth certificate. they weren't dealing with passports. there were certain legal restrictions. they skirted around that. they all got on the train to halifax, and waited through a few days and got on a freighter joined a great big convoy of 60 boats loaded with everything from sugar to pig iron, and of course, their military escort, this was the ware you tried to get across the north atlantic without torpedoed or spunk by an airplane. and they did get across. they arrived the beginning of
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august 1941. they were met the king royal rifle corp. they went down to wind chester england 30 miles south of london, and joined the british comrades. they were a little bit disappointed to discover they weren't to get off the boat and get on the battle field. i think they had the idea you went to war the way you went to a war movie. so you joined up and you were on the battle field and fighting for what was right and good. they had about a year of training in england, in which they did the things enlisted men do. they drilled, they suffered. they got know the comrades. they really loved the rifle men, as they called the enlisted men. most of whom were east london and rippled and hilarious at much as the time. it took a littler longer to warm up to the upper crust
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19-year-old acrystal what we could call prep school what they call public school who were going to be officers like the american guys were. but in the end they came to like them and republican -- respect them very much too many. jack fell in love with a irish woman she was a member of the royal naval service. i don't want to lose track of the larger 1/2tive. they were great readers to keep in touch with each other, each of them would read book. as they read they would write notes in the margin, had they finished the book they would send it to the other. it was like reading the book together. i thought it was a wonderful idea. they also did some things that your average english soldier couldn't do. because they were americans they became propaganda stars. they were constantly being photographed and posed for photograph, which irritated
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them. i guess pleased the ministry of war information in england. of course, they were the sort of leading edge of american help. when which the british were desperate for at that point. they made great friends with the american ambassador to i england a man named john gilbert who is one of the underappreciated figure in history. the time in england was exciting despite all the training. when they graduated from basic training, went off to officer training within in november of 1941, and by april of '42, they had been commissioned as officers and bill won this symbolic silver baton, the symbol of being the best shot and trainee in the class. they were proud of that. by april 1942, the situation changed a little bit in the world. in december of '41, the japanese
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bombed parole harbor and -- pearl harbor and they declared war on the united states, which many think was hitler's biggest mistake. and the british was at camp when it occurred. people recognized it was a bit of tragedy for the united states also the british were thrilled that finally they weren't being forced to stand i loan -- alone against the german war machine. finally, in july of 1942, the five americans shipped out for the battle field. at that point, the nazis controlled mediterranean, so to get to north africa, which is where the british and the access were at that point, fighting with each other, you had to go all way around the bottom of africa. it was 13,000 miles. it's crazy to think of it. it's the only way they could do
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it. almost everything that went to the battle needle north africa had to make an amazingly long journey with a stop in cape town. it took a month. six -- maybe more like six weeks. they stopped in cape town, my uncle, i learned had his own passionate love affair in cape town, and then they reached suez in egypt on september 3rd, 1942. now i should probably give a little bit of background on the war in north africa. historian when they talk about it tend use metaphor like seesaw, pendulum, it was a peculiar sort of rhythm of war that began in the fall of 1940, moose lee knee had vision of grand door. he wanted to ride the white stallion down the street of
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cairo. he decided to make a play for cairo, attack the british going east, the british attacked right back, and drove the italians pretty far west in to libya, at which point hitler realized he needed to power. i don't think he was happy about it. he sent inner win, the famous take commander along with a bunch of [inaudible] and he effectively drove the british back in to egypt. the campaigning would seize and the two sides would give inspect in the fall of 1941, there was advance by the british in to libya in hopes of driving the access forces back. rommel turned around and pushed
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the british back again, and all the way this time, sort of disastersously deep in to egypt deeper than ever been. when the american soldiers arrived, the british the allies, i should say and the access forces were dug in testing each other in a place called the al main line. which was 60 miles west of al sand rei ya which was the british navel center in egypt. close enough to cairo and the suez canal, to be really extremely dangerous and frightening to all the allies. beyond the suez canal were the middle eastern oil field. it was a tense moment and important moment and on september 3rd the five yanks steamed up the red sea in to
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suez, unloaded an went off to the training camp to prepare for battle along the alamein line. one other background. in doing the research for the book, i was lucky enough to go to egypt, tunisia, and england. i went see the alamein line. it looks like every other part of the egyptian dessert, sandy, rocky, flat. you can't imagine why the point would be the place where two are mays came to a halt. the reason because it congress be -- it was blocked on the north by the mediterranean sea, on the south there's a marshy area. it can't be impossible to have heave vehicles such as tanks, for instance. rommel, one of rommel's tricks when he was fighting was to skirt around the opposing army and jump ton from behind. that couldn't happen it here.
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the english were pouring material and men in to the spot in the egyptian dessert getting ready to fight. among them were my five soldiers. when they got to egypt for the first time in more than a year, they were separated in to two groups. jack and -- they joined the first bay battalion and went con to the other end of the line which was a story dessert rats, they were famous part of the british army. they were sent off with the second bay tollon. they went off to the north end of the line. wean the two groups they pretty much saw most of the battle when it finally came. october 23rd. i'm going take a little digression since we're in vermont and we're hearing about hurricanes, to review something i wrote about my uncle's trip
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from his training bay talon in egypt to the front line near alamein. it's really what i try to throughout the book is tell the story as they lived it and thought about it and saw it. it's kind of trying to get inside his mind as he drives across the egyptian dessert. in october of 1942. when the great day came for cox to join the second battalion he and harrington, every british officer has a servant they call for reasons i don't know they call batman. they loaded their possession on to a jeep and set up early on the road toward cairo. it was a friers trip of any length cox had driven in a long time. and excited him to travel on his own for a change. the morning air was cool, the
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sky slowly brightening to a crisp, sharp blue. like a fall morning in new england. he felt happy with all of the belongings strapped on to the jeep and harping ton crammed in it seemed briefly like the trip his family made twice yearly moving between new jersey and vermont. as cox headed west the nile delta opened up before them, startling green, wide and for the l. the land was flat in a way cox found unsettling. he was aware he had dwroat experience the blue which was what the fighting veterans down that there called the dissetter. but he spent -- and to the continual amazement being a man who thought trees and lakes and mountains important he loved them. possibly it was their geometric baronness.
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perhaps in may when conditions were drier he would not have loved them so well. the sand stretching far away. he remembered -- and shelly traveler from an antique land which could have been egypt. there as they neared cairo, the three great pyramids creating a perfect horizon. for the flatness the greenness of the delta would have been if he could be to consider the unthinkable a beautiful sight to the africa core should they ever see it. this is a good war out here in that respect, he wrote home a few days later. he has a lush greenland of the gold and we have our gold ever west which is the direction of home and the traditional american direction. he had been looking forward to spending christmas in benghazi and skiing in the al. s would be nice if neutrality
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laws allow or the italian. all were army vehicles have the wind shield removed to prevent reflected light from capturing the enemy's attention. it made driving challenges when the wind kicked up and the sand too which happened all the time. it was painfully so. the sigh violence of sand and wind against the face took him wack. when he his and mother had migrated home from vermont through the great hurricane that would be remembered as the long island express. they had dropped off the younger brother louis for the first year at saint paul in the rain. it had been raining for days. then returned to windsor, they were aware that the rivers were rising, and that flooding was occurring in western vermont. but that hadn't seemed eerie. flooding was a regular part of the changing of the season.
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the family had been anxious about the safety. but no one said the word hurricane. and rob and his mother were eager to get home. the next morning before they left, uncle louis made them promise to stop the water got too high and call him that night. they pulled out the gravel driveway on to route five in pouring rain. by lynch time when they reached -- lunchtime the rain had stopped. his mother memorable brought him a nice rare steak for lunch. you've been driving me around for three days. you deserve a good lunch she said. you have anything you want. they finished and stood on the porch with the restaurant owner looking around. not a drop of rain or breath of air disturbed it. the wind started up at the same time they did. absolutely terrific as his
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mother would say. the rain wishing and lashing the cars if thrown down from huge buckets. the wild weather far from alarming them made them feel exsill rated. they really having a wonderful time. as they fought their way south, the weather perhaps they should stop. they knew people in nearly every town. rob didn't want to and the mother didn't either. they drove on. then bad got worse. everywhere cars had stalled out or stuck. the road was lit wedder them. they sailed on and on feeling wonderful. looking back later the hurricane unexpected destructiveness had been confused with a growing men nice in europe. hitlering annexing austria in march 1938 and moving on deck check czech in the fall. each frightening act of
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aggression. they heard hitler's voice on the radio and chilled when the war almost started but didn't. when they reached home, they hadn't grasped the full extend of the storm damage. vermont -- new jersey had been windy less so than the other places. a call came and his sister was fine, she couldn't understand why they were calling. later that night when uncle got through, they gained some sense of the damage. he had had to leave his house and fight his way to the telephone office to get a line. all along main street elms had fallen. the verge pine forest in paradise was wrecked that was an area of the unspoiled trees behind the house in windsor. it's a beautiful park. it no longer has the huge version pines that were there in
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the '30s. the pine forest was wrecked. the woods looked as if defines had been playing in there. everywhere ruin and paradise never again the same. that had been rob's personal family loss. it would be nearly two years more before all hell broke loose around the globe. so this is a digression now we have to go 0 back to egypt in 18942. what was interesting in a way what was about to happen to rob that this point was all hell was about to break loose for him. he would be moved to the front line. he learned how to operate he thought it was a wonderful enormous gun called a six pounder. and he and the other men lined up along the alamein line. there were hundreds of thousand -- tens of thousands of men anyway. and he found as he got out there
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he loved the dessert too. he was a fan of wide open spaces, and he liked the independent life the soldiers were able to lead there kind of each man alone with the jeep in the dessert. anyway time went buy and clear that the battle was approaching. they kept repeating the same exercise marching through simulating mine fields, three of them at the time during the same amount of period they were being trained for the assault, which began on the night of october 23rd just about seventy years ago four dais ago. i would like to read another short bit which describes what it was like for jack, the southern end of the line, as the battle arrived they were ordered in to action.
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as dusk fell across the plain of the western dessert 10,000 plus men of the seventh division mounted their vehicle and again heading for places. the thunder of tank engines can be heard. four lines of surprising of various carrier and trucks. the column lurched forward. the advance began. the army path slowly in to narrow lanes cleared earlier through the mine field by the 0th recon sense aided by tanks. white cotton tape showed the way. the western side was dark to prevent enemy detection. nearly four and a half years
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later, and 9:40 the sky behind thed a van -- advancing men caught fire. it was full of noise. it seemed to propel them. in the dessert a man should shout or laugh or scream and no one would hear him. the power of it was overwhelming. thrilling. a man might feel puny and immense both at once. the full moon rose, the hard ground cooled, and the steady advance of the first bay battalion to dust. they could only follow the black silhouette of the vehicle in front. as they progressed activity ahead of the men increased. ever -- and ricochet upward. near the heads of the column
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they reached the end of the ally ies mine field. here soldiers of the recon sense were going about thinker business like moonlight phantom escorting prisoners. others laying awkwardly where they had fallen body infrastructured and strangely and utterly still. well, the battle went on for twelve more days. it was chaos and hell. it did not go according to plan. the leader of the british eighth army argued for the rest of his life that it had. go in to a lot of detail about in this the book. i'll spare you now. suffice the allies prevailed. and but unfortunately four of
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the five americans there did not get it through unscathed. hayward cutting and bill both were machine gunned in the knees and spent months and month in the hospital learning to walk again. chuck took a shell fragment in the spine and had to spend a month in the hospital wondering if he was going to keep his leg and in the tend had to be amputated to save his life. my uncle was shot in the back fortunately a little bit to the one side of the spine so he's been spent a couple of months in the hospital. when he was better he went back in to action. he joined jack who was nearly 2,000 miles further along the edge of north africa and on february 2nd, 1943, they went in to tunisia. it's important to know the american army had entered the fray. on november 8th an operation
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called "torch" general patent and a couple other generals and large number of american soldiers landed in al al gear ya -- and they fought off with heavy losses east in to tunisia, where they took a little while but eventually met up with the british eighth army and the idea they could then sort of expel the allies -- exspell -- the access forces. when they arrived in tunisia pfs. clear it was a good idea. the american army suffered a lot learning how to fight. it was pretty clear they would prevail in north africa.
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it would be a couple of more months of difficult fighting before it came to pass. tunisia is not flat and the germans had occupied all the good observation points on the mountain top and knead difficult for the eighth army and the american army to advance through the passageway through the mountain. it was difficult, bloody fights. unfortunately both my uncle and jack lost their lives in the process. by may, germany had declared defeat in north africa and moved back to italy to get ready for the next round, so to speak. so in conclusion, then, i'd like to talk about the motivation of my uncle in going to war it was one of the subject that fascinated me as i began to learn about him and the four other americans.
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they didn't have to go when they went. but they believed it was the right thing to do. there were other reasons too. whichly leave to you, i hope you'll read the book and draw your own conclusion. they each had their own reason. i'll read what my uncle had to say. after he was killed, my grandmother received his personal possessions back again, all the way from north africa and among them was a letter he written to her in cape town waiting to go to egypt and go to action. a letter to be opened in the event of my death he called it. so i'll read you what he said i'll read you part of that. dearest m it begins. i have thought infrequently of writing the letter and each time shied away from it. it's like the sentimental heroic that prevent clear thought. i'm sure i can't be killed.
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undignified. lately i'm strong for dignity. not pomp pows you -- whatever great or little worth man has. on the ore hand, sorry -- i do not need to tell you why i came. i doubt if i could tell you fully. billy, they called his uncle for unexplained reasons billy said why talked to him about it as far as he could see there was four reasons. nothing better to do, adventure, curiosity, and belief. i came for all four. but mostly for shame. i was ashamed of america. i love america. and i could not sit me your care while america was being attacked. it is not a place between two oceans. it is a face because it is a
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face must be dynamic or perish. do you know what is written on the statute of liberty? i did once but i forgotten. i will write what i would put there. send me for i will give them freedom. send me your despise here they shall be nobled. one day the dream will be fact. a child who loves a ball throw it is in the air, miser reveling in the gold clutches a handful lets stream in the sun right. i love who love life know that my life is worth nothing if not worth risking. evil has come amongst us saying put yourself in the balance with me. are you not glad to do it? you are -- i am you glad too. it for i am happy. bless the friend i love so well, but above you, life is good, brother, there's a wind on the
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heath. all of my love, rob. that's the end. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause] i'd love to answer any questions you might have. comments are welcome also. >> enabling suffered so. now we tweet three words and we think we're making -- and the letter and journal of that time were just so ib -- incredibly graphic. there was no other way to help express what was going on in their lives.
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hay could put their hearts in their words, and you were so fortunate to be able to stumble on to the gold mine that you did. >> yeah. i was. fortunate, yes, thank you. i had something i was going to add, what was it? oh, i know what i wanted to tell you. after the war ended my grandma had three of her five sons thoughted world war ii at the end she had stacks of letter. they wrote to her i would say once at week. it's remarkable. now it seems almost unbelievable. she took all the letters and took them to a typist and had them typed up and bound them in red leather. she had the sort of wonderful official memory of the war. i have to say i learned by doing the research, she did a little bit of editing of the letters. [laughter] i found i actually did find the
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original letters and anything having to do with the woman that he was in love with when he wept overseas how that relationship ended. this little encounter he had in cape town were completely removed from the official record -- [laughter] so and of course, you have to think about how they adjust what they wrote for the to take in to account the feelings of the folks at home. they seem red mark belie cheerful as i read their letter and i'm sure it was they truly that's partly who they were. they best the face things on things by nature. that'sthat's the way they were brought up. i had to think about how they were trying to put a bright face on for the situation. say that didn't want to worry their parents and brothers and sisters. and the letters would be circulated nape would get sent to the sister and the aunt and uncle. everybody would get a chance to
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catch up on what was lap happening. you wonder historians are maybe a little worried about what will happen in the era where so little gets put down on paper. save your e-mails, can you imagine saving all your e-mails? yeah. [inaudible] >> one of the letter were censored, which is a -- and the other is i take it from what you're saying that they didn't say much about how they dealt with the perspective of being under fire successive days. >> well, i'll take them one at the time. yes, all the mail was censored. in fact, it was one of their jobs as officers was to sensor the letters of the enlisted men in the companies. and they got so they wrote, they knew it and wrote around. kind of. my uncle dreamed up a sort of code he shared with his mother
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to let her know when he went to the front. it was he was going to tell her he was going to see "the wizard of oz." when she got the note, i'm off to see the wizard, she probably got nervous. she knew where he was heading. they would have, like when they landed in manchester he said, i arrived in the city where charles mcclain lives. he lived in man chai'ser new hampshire. he wasn't allowed to say. they found ways to get around that. and the second was how did they talk about sustained combat. >> trying to make things look thighs to their family. did they talk about emotionally how they dealt with being under fire and knowing they would be under fire the next day and the day after that and the day after that. >> i can tell you the letters
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became sparser when they in combat. they spent a lot of time waiting around for combat during the battle of el alamein. what i know about that, i learned from the letters they wrote later before the five of them were in hospital. they had a lot of time to write letters. they didn't talk too much how they dealt with fear. more they talked about the -- how hard it was to start losing men. it seemed to be the thing that impressed them and was difficult. it was something i think they could share. my uncle talked once about looking forward to going another moment he knew they were going to be encountering the enemy and how he thought about it and he used this really mundane sort of metaphor. he referred to a swimming hole he liked to women, i think it was 20-foot and wants to jump and also not wanting to jump. that's about as close as -- i
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have jack's journal that he kept all the way through his time in north africa, but it became very tellgraphic when he actually got in to combat. it was slept the night in a cave, nothing but a restless sliver. little things like that. you know, fierce fire, very not a lot of introspection then, i don't think. is that helpful. >> yeah. >> good. i'm sorry. go ahead. >> [inaudible] just a question. clearly he was driven by the group was driven by faith, as you suggested and sort of patriotism as we recall it. also sort of a bro vad dough being a young man. i tborpd you came anything about class issues which is so the impartive of doing the thing they belonged to a social strata
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. >> [inaudible] >> a little bit of that. that's a little bit of try i thought of that. the imperative that might come from being part of a group a social group in the country particularly the interventionist who are part of a class structure. can d you come across any of that kind of -- >> i don't any they would have -- they wouldn't have articulated like that. i think they were conscious ever being leader. they leaders in the school. i think they were conscious coming from sort of families that had contributed to the country and taken the lead in certain . >> expectations. >> there were -- exactly. they felt it was their duty to take the lead if there was a cause. yes, i think they felt they needed to do something. i think it played out in two i was. i think my uncle felt he wanted to do something extraordinary.
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he couldn't imagine himself not doing something that was important -- i'm not exactly sure why that was. i think there was a sense that they were privileged in many ways. they had the wonderful educations and -- with privilege came an obligation as a citizens to do what you believed was right. not just for yourself but as a country as a whole. i is that what you're getting at. >> exactly. that was my assumption. >> there's a big change in that a certain way kind of over 75 years as a cultural shift in that regard. >> i would agree with that, yeah. >> obviously the social structure are different than they used to be. >> people in privilege position don't like to think they are. it makes it hard to think of yourself as being obligated or being a leader oreoing anything. >> certainly that was part of the culture. >> yeah. >> over in those places which
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had deep roots in colonial history and families who sent children there had huge expectations as much as today families have expectations. >> i talk in the author's note in the beginning how we grew up with the stories of the ancestors who had done we markble things like roger sherman who signed the constitution, and this union captain and cox and civil war and william mf who differented andrew johnson who was impeached. you had the feeling you had to do something special. i never -- i guess this is as close as i have ever gotten. that is part of it. the downside of is sort of sense of superiority, which is not something i don't think that to be proud of. but, um. >> asked assign -- i don't mean
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to deflect you. your family's response to your uncle's notoriety. >> after watergate. >> yeah after watergate. did they wish it would go away? >> no. i think they were proud of him. it fulfilled everybody's expectations about richard nixon, if and finally come to that. my grandmother did -- she used to say, she was worried, you know, she felt like it was great wrong had been done to her son. what she was most have a manhattan about at least i'm not that richard nixon's mother. [laughter] >> the combat scenes are rivetting, but were you knowledgeable about the tactical
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way all of these battles in africa played out, were you familiar with world war ii over view history, because how do you educate yourself . >> a lot of that's a good question. it's really hard, actually. a lot of reading. and rereading with, and rereading again just to become familiar with it. and i also had a wonderful adviser and a man named crits for wallace general senior christopher wallace who is the king rifle corps in museum in england who was unbelievably generous in talking through some of the recount of the battle. the british, not to make any generalization, are great about recording everything their history. and the details of the battles were there.
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but they were as seen being accompanying commander the counselor had been on the ground who liked to tell a good story and wanted to make it seem like they were a hearty guys who a god day of fun. which was clearly not what it was like. i had to sort of put that through the filter of other history and bring them try to bring them all together. and i did it also find several excellent memoir that describe, i mean, there was one man in the same who's company was next to my uncles at el al alamein and i made the assumption that was what's my uncle saw and felt and heard. i was able to kind of get a first-person account which helped a lot. but it did take a little time to get the gist.
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anyone else? >> what was it like for you emotionally to meet this urning l you never met? >> wait. you mean the uncle. uncle robbie. well, i didn't meet him. >> that's what, i mean. >> okay. sorry. >> having never really met him. >> get to know him. well, it was moving, it was wonderful to feel that this family circle feels sort of complete to me now. i mean, not literally, as i took your question. i'm sorry. [laughter] you were listening. that was very satisfying. i felt like i learned about a lot about my grandmother whom i was close to my father a bit, and i when i was in tunisia, i finally went and visited his grave. which no one in my family had ever done before. it's an amazing experience. it just filled in this missing
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place. and i felt good he had a visitor from a family. it sound kind of crazy but csh and in british war cemetery, i guess they insighted family member to choose something to be written on the gravestone. some of -- you hardly bear to walk around the cemetery because of them are so heart felt what my grandmother choose was a passage from saint john and the book of new testament for my brother and companion's sake i will strive to do the good. so i also cried a lot. but it crystallized the mistily how he was able to do this thing and how my grandma was able to handle it. it's terrible to think about. and she kind of saw it as something that was part of his
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character, he needed to do, he did for the greater good. i i guess that's how she managed to live with it. yeah. >> what was your pace like when you were writing the book? like, there were place you were really galloping and rushing along, and were there other places where, you know, it might have been a slower pace or where, you know, you -- might have been. >> it was more or less procrastination. [laughter] no, with writing, of course, you start, in my experience, you start slow, and you find the place you have the kind of cast around and experiment and you finally it's like you find the track that is going take you where you want to go. and you move faster and faster and that part is thrilling parking lot, of -- part, of
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course. you discover you have to do it all over again. it happened many times. i threw away a lot of i written. it picks up a lot once you have a book contract, i discovered. when there's somebody waiting for what you have written. and so you to pick up the pace. and you have to kind of force -- it's god. you get better sitting in the chair and you get better at nautical younger friends because you can't think of the word. does that answer your question? [inaudible] alive when you wrote the book. >> this is the saddest part about writing book. hayward was still alive, and i actually one of the ways i got started he was a friend of one of my aunt's and told me how to get in touch with him. i e-mailed them and e-mailed me book and that's hue it went for
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the next two years. i guess i started out with an letter who i am. he would say i'm not well, i'm too old. i can't remember anything useful. let's leave it. a lit lairl what kind of journalist am i. i have to talk to the guy. i'd write him and he made it very clear he didn't want to talk. and i made the decision i wasn't going force myself on him. i did find his sister, however. who was happy to talk about him and told me how difficult he had always been. [laughter] that made me feel better. she gave me quite a bit of information. a lot of the other interesting thing. people forget, of course, we know as we get older we forget what happened. and whenever i feel really discouraged i have never got to of course i would have like to met him to tell him how much i admired him and respected him and what i knew about him.
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but i lost my train of thought. when i get discouraged about the fact i never actually did get to talk to him, i remind myself i would know if what he told me was accurate or not. i a lot of information through shall we say, accounts written at the time. and i depended on them and so as far as getting true story. i'm not sure i lost out that much. it may bees me sad i should never shake his hand. he died in march. no more chances of this year. yeah. he lived to be 90 years old. i think. he was younger than the others. he was 19 when he went overseas. he finished the sophomore year in college. he been raised in england. he was american in by birth but english by trainer. he was egger to get back there. i think they had escaped the
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danger of innovation. he wanted to be over there with his friends back home. yeah? [inaudible] i'm interested this is your first book, i'm wondering if it's an ambition full fulled and a sense of closure, or if it's set you you wanting to write another one and wondering where you are on that. is that a sense of closure and completion. >> yes. and yes. [laughter] , i mean, i do have a sen of completion about this story and the sort of family mystery is solved. but it's hard but i do have the bug, yeah. i esspecially the bug for world war ii. if there's ever a fascinated, all history is fascinated. this is particularly fascinating to me. i'm looking around, i haven't ticketed on the idea yet.
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i'm hoping. thank you. having taught your book would be important for young people to read to have a sense of the being there and the journaling and the keeping track of experiences and seeing it through the eyes instead of through experts or historians or whatever. so that history becomes more integrated in to their experience as opposed to, you know, lifting the times and places and i would think that would be really interesting book to have in that arsenal. >> i would love it if it became a book like that. that was sort of the goal.
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i wanted it not just get the dates and but final out what it felt like. i did have the interesting experience of talking about the book at the community college not far from washington. it is extraordinary how much people don't know. you know, just by virtue much being young. how did they know. they didn't grow up with participates that fought in world war ii. my uncle was thinking about whether he had drafted and he had low draft number. then i thought they don't know what i'm talking about. it means. draft doesn't really mean much of anything anymore either. it's interesting, it really is. >> [inaudible] s a fascinated to think about in terms of what is war. we've had war for ten years now, and we had another war and they had war, but this war no one is really participating in except certain percentage. >> it's changed hasn't it.
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yes. >> and it's not an obligation of citizenship anymore to fight for your country. it's something that the professional military does. i think that's a pretty profound change that's taking place. because of that richard nixon. and also because of my generation didn't want to put an end -- wanted to put an end to the draft. it's interesting to think about, yeah. >> thank you. it was a pleasure. [applause] [applause] for more information visit rachaelscox.com. booktv on facebook. like us to interact with booktv guests and viewers, watch videos and get up-to-date information. facebook.com/booktv. now on booktv, chris
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anderson contends that america is on the -- computing the author profile a selection of start-up descrailist had he did call "makers" who are using social media to redefine american industry and manufacturing. this is just over an hour. [applause] thank you, it is my honor to be here on stage with you and here for the opportunity. this book came about by accident. i didn't set out to write, i didn't set out to become part of the maker movement. it sort of washed over me as i -- in the exercise of parenting gone hosh belie wrong. i have five children. i'm trying to get them
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interested in science and technology. i always think of projects question do together. i started a site called geekdad. they are fun for you and the kids. and i failed in getting them interested perhaps because i'm try soggy -- so hard. one friday at the office, we got two boxes that came in. and the first was a lego robotic kit it was cool. it is lego with the censers and stuff built like a robot. and the other box was a remote control airplane. saturday we'll build a robot and sunday fly a plane. you can see where it was going. saturday we dutifully put together the robot in three
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wheel tribot. and put it together and you program beautifully designed i thought it was awesome. the kids will love it. we finally get ready and push the button it goes forward until it hits a wall and backs up and the kids are like you're kidding? i have seen transformers. that's not a robot. where the lasers. i'm like, okay, hollywood has ruined robotics for children. it's hard to compete with them. we have tomorrow. we are going to fly a plane. we go to the plane and saw acrobat. straight to a tree. it was part i climb up the tree. that was mortifying. i was thinking about it and i was frustrated. i failed once again at being a

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CSPAN November 4, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

Rachel Cox Education. (2012) 'Into Dust and Fire Five Young Americans Who Went First To Fight the Nazi Army.'

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